MK Horowitz: Netanyahu knew of the F-35 sale to UAE for months

‘To hide it from the defense establishment – he simply lied’ Meretz chairman said during a meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

ISRAEL HAS to examine carefully how much the US wants to sell the F35 to the UAE.  (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
ISRAEL HAS to examine carefully how much the US wants to sell the F35 to the UAE.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knew for months that the sale of the F-35 stealth fighter jet was a key component of the normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz said Monday.
“From all the details published and approved by the Prime Minister’s Office, it appears that Netanyahu knew months before the agreement that the deal for the planes was part of the [peace] deal, and to prevent the public from knowing and to hide it from the defense establishment, he simply lied,” he told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. “Why did he not involve the defense minister?”
In response to Horowitz’s accusation, National Security Council deputy head Reuven Ezer said: “The understandings reached with the United States provides long-term security and will preserve Israel’s security and military advantage for decades to come in exchange for the agreement.”
Yesh Atid-Telem MK Moshe Ya’alon, a former defense minister, said: “Netanyahu is once again hiding from his partners and lying to the public on issues that are extremely sensitive to national security.”
He compared the sale of the F-35s to the UAE to the sale of two advanced submarines to Egypt by Germany in exchange for a reported $500 million discount on the purchase of a sixth submarine for Israel.
“This is not leadership; this is a culture of lying,” Ya’alon said. “Israel’s security is not Netanyahu’s private business.”
When the story first broke following a report by Yediot Aharonot’s Nahum Barnea, which stated that UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan conditioned the normalization agreement on the sale of the advanced stealth fighter, Netanyahu called it “fake news.”
He said the agreement “did not include Israel’s consent to any arms deal whatsoever between the US and the UAE, and that Jerusalem would oppose such a deal as it would have a negative effect on the country’s military superiority in the region.”
Although Washington has been selling Abu Dhabi millions of dollars’ worth of military deals, it has been bound to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East before selling any advanced weaponry to regional states.
Two weeks ago, Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed a joint declaration with US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirming Washington’s strategic commitment to maintaining Israel’s QME in the Middle East.
Gantz has doubled down on his accusation that Netanyahu knew about the sale of the F-35 to the UAE during negotiations but kept it hidden from the defense establishment. Nevertheless, after signing the declaration with Esper, the two released a joint statement stating that Israel will not oppose US sales of “specific weapons systems,” referring to the stealth fighter.